What’s happening among the MEF membership? Here’s your weekly round up of all the latest announcements from the members…

Kaspersky: 25 per cent of the world’s wi-fi networks are insecure

New research by the Kaspersky Security Network reveals alarming vulnerability inside the world’s 31m wi-fi hot spots.

Kaspersky Lab has found that one in four (25 per cent) has no encryption or password protection of any kind. This means all the traffic transmitted over those networks – personal messages, passwords, documents – can be easily intercepted and used by attackers.

It says another three per cent use WEP to encrypt data, but that this protocol can be ‘cracked’ within minutes using tools that are freely available on the Internet.

The study reveals that many of the worst affected regions are popular tourist destinations – Thailand, France, Israel, the US. This is alarming, as tourists tend to use wi-fi to stay connected.

Kaspersky Lab also found that, despite the risk, only 57 per cent of Internet users are concerned about their data being intercepted during a wi-fi session.

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Barclays introduces ‘tap to withdraw’ at UK ATMs

Android phone users in the UK will soon be able to get cash at more than 600 ATMs by tapping their handset or contactless debit card. Barclays is piloting the service and will roll it out in 2017.

To withdraw cash, Android smartphone users should log into the Barclays Mobile Banking app, preselect a withdrawal amount and enter their PIN. They have 30 seconds to tap their phone and get the cash.

“Our customers now expect to be able to use their smartphone to make their everyday purchases,” said Barclays UK CEO Ashok Vaswani. “We want taking out cash to be just as easy. With Contactless Cash customers can quickly and securely take-out money with just a tap of their smartphone — a first for the UK.”

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Hungama launches Mera Wala Music artist showcase series

India’s mobile content giant has added a new feature to its hugely popular Hungama Music iOS app.

Listeners can now select ‘Mera Wala Music’ to hear musicians tell stories about their life and work. The series starts with four: Badshah, Diljit Dosanjh, Mithoon and Palak Muchhal. Ayushman Khurana, Hard Kaur, Salim-Sulaiman and more will follow in subsequent months.

It’s not the only upgrade. Hangman has also revamped the offline experience of its music app. Users can download a complete playlist for offline playback, and there’s also an option of seamless streaming on 2G networks.

Siddhartha Roy, CEO of Hungama.com, said, “Hungama Music has undergone a complete experience upgrade. The app is packed with a lot of new programming, feature updates and an enhanced experience for the consumers.”

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Gemalto and Huawei team up to connect the IoT

Smart devices need seamless connections – and now Gemalto and Huawei have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to deliver them.

The two firms will integrate Gemalto’s LinqUs On-Demand Connectivity (ODC) platform with Huawei’s OceanConnect IoT platform. They say the service will help Huawei’s customers “connect to any mobile operator, anytime and anywhere in the world.”

Zhang Qin, president of Huawei Cloud Core Network Marketing Execution at Huawei, said: “With Gemalto’s LinqUs On-Demand Connectivity integrated to Huawei’s OceanConnect IoT platform, we will be able to fulfil the commitment of providing flexible, scalable IoT services to all our customers worldwide.”

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Mastercard extends ‘pay by selfie’ to Latin America

Customers in Brazil and Mexico will now be able to authenticate online Mastercard transactions with a fingerprint or selfie.

The rollout follows after the ‘Identity Check Mobile service’ was first launched by the card network in 14 other countries.

The system lets people use fingerprint or facial recognition to authenticate a purchase. It’s quicker and, arguably, safer than PINs and passwords.

“We find ourselves before a milestone in payments’ evolution. Following the revolution in physical purchases with innovations like chip technology, contactless payments, and wearables, we are now making identity check a reality for online purchases in Latin America after earlier rollouts this year in the US and Europe,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise risk & security at Mastercard.

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Ooredoo Money app upgraded for five new languages

Speakers of Hindi, Malayalam, Nepali, Bengali and Tagalog can now use the Ooredoo Money app in their native tongues.

Customers can use Ooredoo Mobile Money to send money to more than 350,000 MoneyGram agent locations across the world. They can also transfer money directly to bank accounts in a number of countries, including Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The five new language options will sit alongside the conventional USSD menu (*140#), which is available in English and Arabic.

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American Express brings contactless Android phone payments to Canada

It already supports NFC payments on iPhone; now AmEx is extending the capability to Canadian Android users.

To get started, card members activate an American Express card with Amex Pay on an eligible Android device by downloading or updating the Amex App. They can then pay with a tap from the phone at any merchant that accepts American Express contactless payments.

Suat Alaybeyoglu, VP, consumer acquisition and management, American Express Canada, said: “Cardmembers can shop with ease using their mobile devices, while continuing to experience the service they’ve come to expect from American Express.”

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